GAY BODY OF MUSIC, 31min., USA
Directed by Daniel Beliavsky
The life and work of American composer David Del Tredici
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
My focus in documentary filmmaking is on living composers who are often in the late stages of their careers and have decades of experience upon which to reflect. Specifically, I'm interested in creating a document wherein composers have the platform to communicate their artistic legacy. I started my career in music as a classical pianist, and the majority of my repertoire was by composers who had died decades or centuries before me. Any interpretations of their music were through the teacher-student chain and never directly from the composers themselves. Accordingly, my motivation for this film, like the ones before it, has been to give composers a voice to directly and without compromise communicate their musical desires, goals, and contexts to the current and next generation of performers and audiences.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
It took 7 years.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
There were several issues. The idea of what the film turned out to be about -- a contemporary art composer expressing not only his sexuality but the struggles of gay men of his generation through music -- took time to coalesce because of how personal and yet universal these ideas are. The film's main subject, composer David Del Tredici, needed time to formulate his answers to the question he himself proposed when filming began: what is gay music? This took him 5 years. On a practical note, I was working with a small but dedicated team, and because we are so few in numbers, it took years to raise money, find appropriate interview subjects, and for me to learn some of the music performed in the documentary.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was quite pleased that people seemed to understand how complex the theme of gay music in the classical world really is.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
In 2009, having already worked as a classical pianist and educator for decades, I felt strongly that I had to move communication about music beyond the concert hall and classroom and into the broader arena of film. Film is a medium that effectively encapsulates my goals of expressing music sonically and visually; it is, in other words, a tool through which music can be taught and showcased to a broad audience.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Possibly Back to the Future.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Live screenings with in-person Q&A sessions would be helpful networking opportunities.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Very good. I have no complaints.
10. What is your favorite meal?
I have a couple, including a well-prepared steak with vegetables.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I'm about to launch a podcast that will serve my mission as expressed in the first question above--giving a platform to modern composers to communicate their legacy without inhibition or obstacle to an interested audience of performers and audiences. I'm also working on a musical tryptic in film comprising three performances of classical piano works and their corresponding analyses represented through animation.